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Mali Country Report 2023

Mali War 2023 : Areas of dominance. Source: Wikipedia

Mali Country Report

January 2023

Genocide Watch’s Genocide Emergency for Mali continues. By the end of 2022, Islamist militants had advanced into Mali’s east, killing hundreds of civilians and forcing thousands to flee. French troops have withdrawn from Mali and the brutal Russian Wagner group has become the main mercenary force supporting the government. Wagner commits widespread crimes against humanity with impunity.

Prior to the French withdrawal, there was heavy fighting between Tuareg separatists and the Islamic State in Greater Sahara (ISGS). Since the Wagner group's intervention in support of the Malian army, Islamic extremists linked to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State have actually gotten stronger.

Since December of 2021, over 2,000 civilians have been killed in Mali. At least one third of the killings were committed by the Wagner Group. In March of 2022, Human Rights Watch reported that Malian government troops in collaboration with Wagner mercenaries rounded up and killed an estimated 300 men in the Malian town of Moura. Most were civilians without any connections to terrorists.

The Wagner group's intervention in Mali has brought a significant increase in killings of ethnic Fulani, just as it has in the Central African Republic. Wagner mercenaries have committed widespread arrests, beatings, torture, and killings of ethnic Fulani cattle herders. First hand accounts from Fulani herders show that Wagner forces have tortured Fulani civilians in their own homes on suspicion of being Islamic terrorists.

ACLED data reveals that Wagner perpetrates more killings of civilians (Fulani in particular) than the Malian army. In March 2022 the Malian army in collaboration with Wagner killed an estimated 450 civilians. The Wagner group has also pressured the Malian military junta to impede MINUSMA operations in Mali.

Expert analysts predict that Islamist terrorist groups will grow stronger in Mali. Al-Qaeda’s branch for the Sahel (JNIM) is active. Its push to move closer to the capital city of Bamako, has left 27 dead and many others wounded.

With the new dominance of Wagner Russian mercenaries in Mali and the growth of Islamist terrorism, Genocide Watch recognizes the current situation as Stage 8: Persecution and Stage 9: Extermination.

Genocide Watch recommends:

● The government must gain control over the Malian military and expel the Wagner group from the country.

● The government should make the safety of Malian civilians its priority and stop its collaboration with the Russian government.

● The government should create community-based forums where citizens can air public grievances to prevent the recruitment of youth and disenfranchised people into extremist groups.

● The Military Junta must be replaced with democratically elected officials in a peaceful transition of power.

● MUNISMA should resist intimidation by the Wagner group and should fulfill its mandate to keep the peace and protect civilians.

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